With social media being such a strong medium for advertising, brands have become increasingly aware of the power of collaboration with Influencers. Big name brands can afford to pay Influencers for posts and have the capacity to gift product. Small businesses on the other hand, don’t have it so easy. Small business owners often ask whether collaborating is worth it.
Our answer is always YES! If you’re collaborating with the right people…
Here are a few benefits to working with Influencers:
It can be more cost effective than conventional advertising, which many small businesses simply cannot afford. Ad placement on TV, Radio or in magazines can cost well into the thousands!
You can re-post the images generated by the Influencer, saving you time and money creating your own content! This is obviously something that needs to be agreed upon prior to the collaboration and you will need to credit them for the image unless you buy the rights.
You can target an audience based on the type of Influencer you want to collaborate with.
By working with a well respected Influencer who gives honest and authentic reviews, you can gain trust in your brand
Whilst the right collaboration can mean HUGE benefits for small business owners, there are a few things you should look out for prior to sealing the deal:
1. Check their engagement
Does their content generate likes and comments? You want to be sure that this influencer’s audience are genuine! If someone has 20,000 followers but only gets 20 likes per image you can be pretty certain that they’ve either purchased followers or that their audience simply isn’t engaged with what they’re posting. Not a good sign if you’re investing money or product with them.
Sites such as Influencer Marketing Hub have tools available for you to analyze any Instagram account for fake followers, likes or comments. An authentic Influencer should reveal a credible score, like below:
You can also ask for a screenshot of their Instagram audience insights which will give you a breakdown of exactly who their followers are and where they're located. Choose an Influencer who has an audience that are likely to be interested in what you're offering.
If you're seeking blog content as part of the collaboration, don't be afraid to ask for a media kit or a summary of their readership analytics. Any credible Influencer or blogger should be able and more than willing to show the exposure they can give you.
2. Do they collaborate with quality brands often?
If you have a tight budget or are hesitant to gift product, have a look to see what other brands the Influencer has worked with. Have other brands trusted them in the past? It’s easy to tell if they an Influencer has worked with brands as Instagram now requires users to declare sponsored posts. So look out for hashtags like #sponsored, #ad, #collab or something similar.
On the other hand, be wary of Influencers or bloggers that work with TOO MANY brands. Is their Instagram feed full of ads for other brands? Not a great sign either. As a rule of thumb, if you're looking at the last 9 images in someones feed, only 2-3 of them should be sponsored. You need to choose someone who doesn't 'sell out' and who shares meaningful content, not just posts that fill their pockets.
3. Ask what they envision for the collaboration
An easy way to see if someone’s just after a freebie is to ask HOW they’d like to collaborate. How do they want to showcase your product? Are they asking for anything in return? Do they want you to re-post their content?
These are all great questions to ask because QUALITY Influencers won’t just approach brands asking for product. They should have a vision, which should be consistent with your brand and their blog or feed. Again, look at the content they've created for brands in the past and ask yourself if you'd be willing to pay for this service from them for your business.
4. Have a written agreement!
Having the conditions of your collaboration set out is VITAL!! It keeps both parties accountable in terms of what is expected, by whom, and by when. You also need to agree on how long the post will stay on the Influencers feed.
This way, if images aren’t posted by the date agreed or either party don't meet their end of the bargain, you have the agreement to refer back to.